Monday, June 13, 2011

A Graduation Speech to Remember

by Jan Shoop

On Thursday, May 26 StarShine held it’s annual high school graduation ceremony. I’d like to share with you a portion of Mary Lillie’s, one of the high school teachers, speech to the students. I think you will find it moving and a speech to remember.
When asked to write this, I could have given a ‘reach for the moon, because even if you'll still be among the stars...go after your dreams speech,’ but instead I wanted to say what I wish someone would have said to me back in 1988, just a few months before I left for basic training. I think it would have made a difference in my life.”

“Happiness is a choice, something you have to work at. A Action! For instance, 2 cars are stopped in traffic.... One person has a good attitude....(He is enjoying his cd, the mountains, his family and having some much needed ‘me’ time. The other driver has a bad attitude. (He is yelling, cursing and his honking horn.) ...It's your choice. How do you get to that point? Because it's not takes effort, there are some things that you have to do. And it has to do with your past, present, and future...let me explain.”

Past---April 20, 1999, Craig Scott---(He was studying with his friends at the Columbine High school library...he heard pops outside and thought some seniors, who were getting ready to graduate were doing a prank, someone came in and said that people were shooting and to get under the tables. He got under a table between 2 people. The person to his right was shot and killed, the person to his left was shot and killed, the person on the computer in front of him was shot and killed, and people all around him were shot. They were shooting people with white hats, so he took his off and put it under him and played dead. The pops he heard were his sister Rachel Scott getting shot and killed....the 1st person killed at Columbine.) We've all heard the stories...but what you might not know is that for years after he couldn't sleep, he had nightmares...he was full of hatred, anger, and he was mad to the point that it was destroying him and he didn't know how to stop. Finally, someone told him that ‘forgiveness is like freeing a prisoner and then finding out that the prisoner was you.’ So that's what he did....because he HAD to. Craig and his family turned tragedy into triumph by starting, ‘Rachel's Challenge.’ Forgive….not forget, Craig will never forget.”      

Future –The future is easy....set goals…if you get off course…get right back on. If'll find yourself on Venus wondering how you got there...saying, ‘this isn't what I had in mind for my life!’ Even Harvard graduates who make goals make more money and are more successful than other Harvard graduates that don't make goals.”      

Present---the present is a gift…that’s why it’s called the ‘Present.’ That might sound funny, but it's true. Be in the moment and enjoy it. You only get one chance to see your child take their 1st step. How many parents are here right now thinking, ‘I just took him to kindergarten, yesterday?’ You blink and it's over. You never know what's gonna happen.”

“Soak up life, enjoy the sunsets, the rainbows, the beaches, and YES...even traffic! I hope all of you have a great, wonderful and happy life. I really do!”

If you’d like to see the graduation photos, go to StarShine Graduation Photos